Field hockey looking for ‘grit’ on defense after loss to Bucknell

The Owls recorded four shots on goal and allowed three goals on penalty corners in a two-goal loss at Howarth Field.

Senior forward/midfielder Alyssa Delp (right), defends during the Owls’ 3-2 overtime victory Saturday against Villanova. | Evan Easterling TTN
Forward Sarah Keer defends during the Owls' 3-2 overtime win against Villanova on Oct. 31, 2015. Keer scored the Owls' lone goal on Saturday against Kent State University in their shutout win. EVAN EASTERLING | TTN FILE PHOTO

Both Temple and Bucknell University came into the second game of the season looking for their first wins.

The Bison took control of Sunday’s matchup on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball on the way to a 3-1 win at Howarth Field.

“We just gave them too much space a little bit on the end line where they were capitalizing and getting corner calls against us,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “Something that we need to do is really put a bit more pressure outside the circle and not wait for them to come into the circle.”

All three of Bucknell’s goals were scored on penalty corners. Junior defender Mackenzie Haney opened up the scoring at the 26-minute, 10-second mark of the first half on an assist from junior midfielder Lexi Quick.

Just inside the 51st minute of the second half, Temple was awarded a penalty corner. Seconds later redshirt-senior forward Sarah Keer scored to tie the game up. Redshirt-junior forward Maris Stern and 2016 all-Big East Conference second-team member and senior midfielder Rachael Mueller had the assists on the play.

Freeman emphasized a team game during halftime.

“[I was] just reiterating the necessity for composure when we’re on the ball and really not having a dribble first mentality,” she said, “but to really look to connect with our teammates in different lines and within their lines, which I thought they did a good job of adjusting to in the second half.”

Less than five minutes after Keer’s goal, Bucknell senior defender Stephanie Dressler scored to take the lead back. In the 62nd minute, Quick scored for the Bison off of an assist by Haney to give Bucknell a two-goal cushion.

The Bison applied pressure throughout the game on the back line and on sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock. On eight shots faced, Lilliock made five saves and gave up three goals. She played almost the whole game, but was pulled with less than five minutes left in the contest.

The Bison outshot the Owls 18-6, as Temple only attempted three shots in each half. The Owls committed 10 more fouls than Bucknell as they tried to win possession of the ball. Some of these fouls were committed inside of the striking circle, which resulted in 11 penalty corners for Bucknell.

Temple had dropped its first game of the season to city rival St. Joseph’s, 4-1, while Bucknell lost to the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions Monmouth University by a score of 6-2.

The Owls have attempted 14 shots in their first two games while conceding 39.

Freeman said following the loss Temple will need to work on its cohesion on the offensive side of the ball among other aspects of the game.

“Defense and penalty corners mainly,” Freeman said. “We also need to work on our set pieces and execution of our attack and not botch a clear shot. We as well need to have more of a grit type of mentality in our defense.”

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